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Food and Nutrition

Energy Drinks: An Assessment of the Potential Health Risks in the Canadian Context

Background

In order to develop a health risk assessment in the Canadian context of potential health risks posed by consumption of caffeinated energy drinks, Health Canada's Food Directorate scientists carried out an in-depth review of more than 300 pertinent scientific studies published from 2010-2011 relevant to caffeinated energy drinks. For the purpose of this review, a typical energy drink was described as "a single can serving of 250 ml containing 80 mg of caffeine, 1000 mg of taurine, 600 mg of glucuronolactone and several B vitamins. The individual energy drink ingredients were all assessed separately, although health hazard data specific to certain ingredients in energy drinks was limited. Caffeine was identified as the ingredient with the greatest potential health concern although the health effects of excessive intake of taurine and glucuronolactone are unknown.

While some data gaps were identified, the overall conclusion of Health Canada's health risk assessment for caffeinated energy drinks was that the general adult population could safely consume 2 servings of a typical energy drink per day with no health consequences; however, Health Canada continues to recommend that other segments of the population, specifically children, should limit their consumption of dietary caffeine based on Health Canada's Recommended Maximum Caffeine Intake Levels for Children and Women of Childbearing Age.

Risk Assessment

To obtain an electronic copy of the document, Energy Drinks: An Assessment of the Potential Health Risks in the Canadian Context, please contact our publications office or send an e-mail to publications@hc-sc.gc.ca with the subject heading "HPFB BCS Energy Drinks: An Assessment of the Potential Health Risks in the Canadian Context-eng".

Contact Information

Bureau of Chemical Safety, Food Directorate